New scheme blurs boundaries
Published by Riverside for Riverside in Housing and also in Communities
Mark Weights, Adam Holt, Mayor Geoff Almond and Lesley Loboda
Homeless people in St Helens are benefiting from a new facility which integrates them with the wider community.
Boundary Court – which features eight general needs flats managed by Riverside and eight supported housing flats managed by St Helens Accommodation Project (SHAP) – replaces OneSixTwo, a residential resettlement project on Prescot Road.
The project has been running in the new building since October 2011 but was officially launched at an open day this week by Mayor Geoff Almond.
Riverside Neighbourhood Manager Lesley Loboda said: “Integration into a new community outside of homelessness is one of the keys to successful resettlement. For long-term homeless people, their hostel will have become their community and they will have formed strong attachments to their project workers. The thought of moving away from familiar surroundings can be a daunting prospect and they can be vulnerable to stigma in the wider community.
“Initially there was some hostility from residents who were apprehensive about having a homeless scheme on their doorstep but since it opened we have allayed any fears. The community has really bought into what we are doing and the open day was an opportunity for neighbours to come along and meet the young residents and see for themselves how determined they are to turn their lives around.”
Mark Weights, Director of SHAP, added: “The support we have received from the surrounding community, in particular Westfield Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, has been heart-warming.
“At a time when spending on services for homeless people is being cut, it’s fantastic to welcome a new facility that allows vulnerable people to take stock, build confidence and learn new skills, enabling them to go on and achieve great things.”
Former OneSixTwo and Boundary Court resident Adam Holt said: “Boundary Court is amazing and really gives young people who are homeless the opportunity to be taught independent living skills in a safe environment.
“One of the things I found most beneficial about Boundary Court was that it has the facilities for young people to take control of their lives and help them become responsible for managing their own budget. This really prepared me for my own place.
“Even though I’ve got my own place now, I know if I need anything the door is always open.”
The supported housing caters for single men or woman aged 16 to 25. The house is staffed 24/7 and each resident is allocated a keyworker who helps residents claim benefits and access training, education or employment. Young people also complete modules on budgeting and debt, cooking and nutrition, health and hygiene and practical DIY.
Residents have their own self-contained fully furnished flat and there is a communal lounge where group activities take place.